Vetiver Rioja Blanco – Produced solely from Viura grapes grown in the Siete Caminos vineyard, on south-east facing slopes. This wine is aged according to the typical white Rioja method: 4 months in American oak (mostly used) followed by 6 months in bottle prior to release.
Bodegas Ontañón is a family-owned winery in Rioja Baja – the hottest and driest of the three Rioja sub-regions, and the most influenced by the Mediterranean climate. Although there is vineyard planted at the lower elevations close to the River Ebro, a good portion of the most highly prized vineyard in this area is actually planted at higher altitudes than in both Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa, and it is here that much of Ontañón’s vineyard is located.
Their 250 hectares sit high in the Sierra Yerga Mountains outside of the town of Quel. Raquel, Rubén and María Pérez Cuevas are part of the fifth generation of the Pérez Cuevas family to carry on the tradition of grape growing in this area. Their father, Gabriel, inherited a portion of his family’s vineyards in the early 1980s, and began to make wine. Their estate now covers five main vineyard areas:
La Pasada and El Arca – both in Quel. La Pasada is their highest vineyard, around 800m above sea level. Tempranillo vines were planted here in 1979, and the fruit is used in Ontañón’s Reserva and Gran Reserva wines. El Arca has their oldest plantings of Garnacha – dating back to 1910.
La Montesa, Siete Caminos and Rihuelo vineyards are all in Alfaro, south-east of Quel. La Montesa was planted with Graciano in in 1997, and Tempranillo in 2000. This is Ontañón’s 2nd highest vineyard, at 725m. Siete Caminos was planted with Tempranillo in 2000 followed by Garnacha, Graciano and Viura. Rihuelo is just 300m above sea level – planted with Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano
What does it go with?
Everything! Just buy some and drink it, it is lovely!
Apologies, a little over exuberant there – Lobster, langoustines or shell fish dishes are all good and also cream-based pasta sauces, or a classic roast chicken.
What the press say:
2014 Vintage: “It says Viura on the label, but this smells like a Viognier: blossomy, exotic and peachy. It’s only the palate that reveals a bit more of the Viura, with tangy acidity complementing the stone fruit flavours. 91 points.” Tim Atkin MW’s ‘Rioja Special Report 2017’
2014 Vintage: ‘Smart Buy’ “This bold white marries expressive flavours to a muscular texture. Pear and quince flavours mingle with brioche, chamomile and dried pineapple notes, with juicy acidity and light tannins giving support. Lively now, this should harmonize with time. Drink now through 2024. 91 points.” Thomas Matthews, Wine Spectator, 15th December 2016
2013 Vintage: “‘Very clean and fresh style, lemon peel notes with lovely structure and length,’ said team leader Annette Scarfe MW, with Robert Mason of Cheese at Leadenhall finding: ‘Hints of smoke, creamy qualities, developing melon and zesty touches on the finish.’” Sommelier Wine Awards 2015, Judges Comments
2012 Vintage: “A no-brainer for wine lists everywhere, this well-priced, well-textured white more than earned its Gold”, “A gentle almost creamy texture, nicely balanced between tangy citrus and richer peach and pear, wrapped up in toasty oak”, “Lovely precise freshness, there is a good balance and some fresh lime acidity on the finish” Sommelier Wine Awards 2014, Judges Comments